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Microsoft's C++ compiler downloadable

So now all you C++ cheapskates no longer need to be envious of the SDK pennypinchers

The Microsoft Visual C++ Toolkit 2003 includes the core tools developers need to compile and link C++-based applications for Windows and the .NET Common Language Runtime:

  - Microsoft C/C++ Optimizing Compiler and Linker.  These are the same compiler and linker that ship with Visual Studio .NET 2003 Professional!
  - C Runtime Library and the C++ Standard Library, including the Standard Template Library.  These are the same static-link libraries included with Visual Studio. 
  - Microsoft .NET Framework Common Language Runtime.  Visual C++ can optionally build applications that target the Common Language Runtime (CLR). 
  - Sample code.  The toolkit includes four samples designed to showcase the powerful new features of the 2003 version, including new optimization capabilities, features to improve code-security and robustness, enhanced ISO C++ standards support, and the ability to use the .NET Framework library and target the CLR.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, April 19, 2004

Incredible. Anyone can think of a reason for this step?

Chris Nahr
Monday, April 19, 2004

It's a cliche, but you have to admin that it's funny.

I have used the full version forever (the real value is in the IDE), however hasn't the C++ compiler been available in the freely available Platform Development Kit for years? Maybe it didn't include the optimizations.

Dennis Forbes
Monday, April 19, 2004

Well, since Borlands C/C++ compiler, and mingw are freely available, they may have felt that people who want to learn C++might prefer these cheaper options, and may get used to working with non-MS technology.
Or worse yet, they may be lured into the swirling vortex known as the OSS community.

A "hook'em while they're young" kind of move.

Thats my guess anyhow.

Eric Debois
Monday, April 19, 2004

"Maybe it didn't include the optimizations."

Yep, that's what's new. Previously, the SDKs included only the standard (i.e., non-optimizing) compiler.

Paulo Caetano
Monday, April 19, 2004

As far as I can recall, the SDK never included the C++ compiler until .NET came around. And then, the compiler you got had very little in the way of unmanaged libraries. Basically, it was there so you could write managed C++ code for free.

I suppose it's possible that I missed that it was available before then, but I did tend to keep a watch out for it (for when people asked which free C++ compilers were available, when I was moderator in a C++ channel on IRC).

Brad Wilson (
Monday, April 19, 2004

I downloaded the SDK just a few months ago, and it had the cl.exe executable and such, and didn't include any samples or anything.

When I tried to run it, cl.exe gave an error about a missing DLL.  I think I had to add some dir to my path, but I never bothered -- since it wasn't included in the install step.

So is this new toolkit a lot more friendly or what?

Monday, April 19, 2004

My memory is a bit muddy... I don't think the VC++ compiler was _ever_ included in the Platform SDK.

As for the .NET SDK, I thought it wasn't in there either, but it's possible that there was a non-optimizing version that could produce managed code only and came without any native libraries.

Chris Nahr
Tuesday, April 20, 2004


See Ken Thompson,s essay on 

Read carefullly, think.

Your compiler writer owns your code.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


Full name
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Even more useful

If you have the very nice <$99 Visual Studio standard you can download this free compiler, copy the .exe (s)over the top of the non-optomised version and get the full Visual C++ pro equivalent.

Martin Beckett
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

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